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Dec 02, 2016
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Intelligent Content For The Food Fascinated
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SERVING SAINT LOUIS SINCE 1999
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Sneak Peek

Sneak Peek: 2nd Shift Brewing on The Hill

Thursday, November 17th, 2016

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{From left, the 2nd Shift crew includes Mikey Manning, Jake Senn, co-owners Libby Crider and brewer Steve Crider, Becca Senn and Mike Sweeney.}

After months of anticipation, co-owners Steve and Libby Crider are putting the final touches on 2nd Shift Brewing’s new home at 1601 Sublette Ave., on The Hill. Doors are set to open Dec. 3, pending final licensing approval.

As The Scoop reported in May, the Criders have spent the past three years looking for a new home for their 6-year-old brewery, which was originally located in New Haven. They settled on a large warehouse in an industrial part of The Hill. The 12,000-square-foot main building holds both the tasting room and the brewery, and the additional space will drastically increase 2nd Shift’s production.

The Criders embraced the stripped-down industrial feel of the space, which includes exposed ductwork suspended from soaring warehouse ceilings. Racks of barrels used to age 2nd Shift beers divide the tasting room from the brewery. The bar features 16 taps, the majority of which will pour 2nd Shift brews. (A handful will be reserved for regional guest taps.) Crider also hopes to offer a select wine program of by-the-glass and bottle offerings.

The Criders have partnered with brothers Jason and Adam Tilford of Tilford Restaurant Group, which owns Mission Taco Joint, Tortillaria and Milagro Modern Mexican. Don’t expect a fourth Mission Taco Joint, though. Libby Crider said they are working to construct a menu that will include nods to The Hill’s Italian influences, as well as sausages and paninis. Until the kitchen build-out is complete, the Tilfords will operate a mobile taco bar at 2nd Shift.

Once doors open, the tasting room will operate Tuesday through Thursday from 4 to 10 p.m. and Friday and Saturday from noon to 11 p.m. Here’s a sneak peek at 2nd Shift’s new home:

 

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Read more about 2nd Shift Brewing
• The Scoop: 2nd Shift to open brewery on The Hill
• Cellarman Steve Crider: Serious Beer Doesn’t Have to Be Serious
• Drink This Weekend Edition: 2nd Shift Technical Ecstasy
• Drink This Weekend Edition: 2nd Shift Brewing’s Hibiscus Wit

 

Editor’s Note: This post oringinally stated that 2nd Shift would be open on Sundays. This is anticipated for summer, but not upon opening. It has been updated to correct the error. 

-photos by Michelle Volansky

Sneak Peek: Mauhaus Cat Cafe & Lounge in Maplewood

Friday, November 11th, 2016

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St. Louis cat lovers have a new favorite hangout. Mauhaus Cat Cafe & Lounge opens tomorrow, Nov. 12, at 3101 Sutton Blvd., in Maplewood. As The Scoop reported last year, the 1,500-square-foot space will serve coffee, tea and pastries with international influences. Co-owners Dana Huth and Ben Triola worked with Maplewood architecture firm ADG to create a dual-purpose space that was safe for cats on one side and safe for food preparation and consumption on the other.

Food and drinks will be ordered in a humans-only section with four bar seats, but diners can bring their food into the lounge through a vestibule built between the two spaces. People must walk into the vestibule and close the door behind them before entering the lounge.

The menu features handheld treats like miniature cupcakes, vegan hummus and babka that can be paired with coffee drinks made with nearby La Cosecha Coffee Roasters or even catnip tea. “The idea is to have the food in one hand, and be petting a cat with the other,” said Mauhaus pastry chef Alyssa Bennett,

Mauhaus provides temporary homes for 13 adoptable cats from Tenth Life Cat Rescue, a St. Louis-based shelter and adoption center, and also houses two resident cats. Customers who can’t get enough snuggles with a particular cat, they can apply through Tenth Life to start the adoption process.

Since the cat lounge can only accommodate 20 people at a time, customers are encouraged to make online reservations to play in the lounge; there is a $10 deposit to reserve a time slot, which can be used as a credit for food, drinks and merchandise. There is no charge for walk-ins.

Mauhaus will be open from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Thursday through Sunday. Here’s what to expect from St. Louis’ first cat cafe:

 

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-photos by Michelle Volansky 

 

 

 

 

Sneak Peek: Nixta in Botanical Heights

Friday, November 11th, 2016

Editor’s note: This post contains an image that may be NSFW.  

 

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Restaurateur Ben Poremba has added another establishment to his fold in Botanical Heights. Nixta hosts a soft opening tonight, Nov. 11, at 1621 Tower Grove Ave., under the direction of executive chef Tello Carreon.

As The Scoop reported in October, Poremba’s Bengelina Hospitality has turned the building that once housed its fried chicken restaurant into this Mexican-inspired eatery. Former patrons of Old Standard will hardly recognize the 42-seat space, which Poremba designed himself. Walls are painted in bright blue and coral; Mexican rugs drape windows and cover floors. Succulents rest on shelves and light fixtures dangle from climbing rope.

Carreon’s menu is inspired by his Mexican heritage with an emphasis on intense flavors, like the al pastor, featuring a thick-cut piece of pork belly topped with caramelized pineapple and a pineapple pico de gallo. The rotating menu is a mix of smaller and larger plates meant to be shared; look for Carreon’s mole negro with braised beef cheeks inspired by his grandmother’s recipe or a seafood cocktail filled with octopus, scallops, mussels, oysters and shrimp.

Bengelina Hospitality head bartender Drew Lucido oversaw development of the bar program in consultation with Layla Linehan, previously at Brasserie, Demun Oyster Bar and Monarch. The bar features a handful of house cocktails, a large selection of tequila, rum and mezcal, as well as fresh juices and a forthcoming list of house-made aguas frescas. A selection of mostly Mexican bottled and canned beers and 14 wines by the glass are also available.

Poremba said the space will function as Nixta until 10 p.m., when it will become a more relaxed, late-night spot called Bar Limón. A selection of dishes will be available on Bar Limón’s late-night menu, as well as scaled down $6 cocktails.

After this weekend’s soft opening, Nixta and Bar Limón will be open Tuesday through Thursday from 5 p.m. to midnight and Friday and Saturday from 5 p.m. to 1:30 a.m. Here’s a sneak peek at what to expect from Poremba and Carreon:

 

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-photos by Michelle Volansky

Sneak Peek: Sardella in Clayton

Tuesday, November 1st, 2016

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Get ready, St. Louis. After five months of anticipation, Sardella will open doors for its first dinner service tomorrow, Nov. 2, pending final inspections today. Niche Food Group chef-owner Gerard Craft said Sardella will start with dinner tomorrow and then breakfast service, which will debut Thursday, Nov. 3.

Sardella moves into the former home of Niche, Craft’s flagship restaurant, which he closed in June after 11 years. The announcement came as a surprise to many; Craft had just won the James Beard Foundation Award for Best Chef: Midwest in 2015 for his work at the fine dining restaurant.

Niche was lauded for its focus on highly regional, Missouri-sourced cuisine. At Sardella, Craft casts off the hyper-local limitations in favor of Italian-inspired dishes. While local purveyors are still widely used, Sardella’s dishes feature previously prohibited ingredients like seafood, lemons and chocolate. “I just want people to have fun again,” Craft said. “I want a noisy restaurant with people having fun.”

Craft also traded in Niche’s white tablecloths and subdued fine-dining demeanor for warm white walls, light wood, intricate blue-and-white tile work and cheery golden-yellow banquette seating. And the bar now seats eight and runs half the length of the restaurant, allowing for a much larger beverage program than Niche’s. One thing that hasn’t changed is the open kitchen visible through the pass, where customers can watch the busy crew under the direction of executive chef Nick Blue and executive pastry chef Sarah Osborn.

 

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{Sardella executive chef Nick Blue, executive pastry chef Sarah Osborn and Niche Food Group chef-owner Gerard Craft}

Sardella will offer breakfast and dinner service, with lunch to follow a few weeks later. Craft said he wanted to bridge the gap between heavy American breakfast (think pancakes and eggs or biscuits and gravy) and unhealthy fast-food options. Sardella will offer a European-style breakfast service with pastries and a coffee program (Sardella’s baristas trained under Sump Coffee owner Scott Carey.). Customers can snack on a cinnamon roll and espresso at the bar, grab a vegan yogurt parfait to go or snag a seat for a smoked salmon English muffin or avocado toast.

Dinner service will feature more than a dozen shareable small plates, a handful of pastas and four heartier meat entrees. “The way (my wife Suzie Craft and I) like to eat these days is having a few small plates,” he said, citing favorite menu items like arugula salad, gnocco fritto and warm dinner rolls (“like crack”).

Sardella’s bar program will be far more expansive than Niche’s offerings. Under the guidance of general manager and beverage director Chris Kelling, the bar will offer six draft beers and a handful of large-format bottled options. Niche Food Group veterans like David Greteman and Kyle Mathis have designed the house cocktail list, and Kelling himself oversaw the wine selection, which Craft described as fun, approachable and “not so fussy.”

Sardella will be open for breakfast Monday to Friday from 7 to 11 a.m., and coffee and pastries will be available until 3 p.m. Dinner service will be offered daily at 5 p.m. Here’s a sneak peek of what to expect when one of the most anticipated restaurants of 2016 opens doors:

 

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More on Gerard Craft and Sardella

• The Scoop: Gerard Craft to close Niche, Sardella to open
• The Scoop: Gerard Craft to open second Pastaria in Nashville
• The Scoop: Nate Hereford to exit Niche, Brasserie’s Nick Blue to take the helm
• The Scoop: Gerard Craft wins James Beard award
• What I Do: Nick Blue of Sardella

-photos by Michelle Volansky

Sneak Peek: Eat Sandwiches in Tower Grove South

Monday, October 17th, 2016

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Eat Sandwiches will soon open doors at 3148 Morgan Ford Road. Co-owner Byron Smith hope to start slinging sandwiches at his Tower Grove South spot as soon as this Friday, Oct. 21. As The Scoop reported in September, the 24-seat counter-service deli will open in the original Local Harvest Grocery location.

Eat Sandwiches will offer (what else?) sandwiches piled with meat prepared and sliced in-house, fresh veggies and cheeses, paired with house-made sides like a mustard-based potato salad, potato chips and Asian slaw. Customers can wash down those sandwiches with bottled Excel sodas and local beer from favorites like Urban Chestnut, 4 Hands and Old Bakery Beer.

Eat Sandwiches will be open Tuesday to Saturday from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. and Sunday from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Here’s a sneak peek of Tower Grove South’s newest eatery:

 

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-photos by Michelle Volansky 

 

Sneak Peek: The Sliced Pint in downtown St. Louis

Friday, September 30th, 2016

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The Sliced Pint opens doors for pizza and beer lovers today, Sept. 30. As The Scoop reported in June, the 4,300-square-foot restaurant is located next-door to City Museum at 1511 Washington Ave., downtown. Owners Amy and Amrit Gill are developers who also own Restoration St. Louis, as well as O’Shays Pub in The Grove, Holiday Inn Route 66 and several others in Iowa.

Create your own pie with four kinds of crust (including a signature T-Rav stuffed crust option), or choose from 13 specialty and signature pizzas like the Philly cheesesteak-inspired The Wonder Years or the St. Louis-centric pork steak pizza called The Urge.

The beer list has a local focus with 80 options from breweries like Old Bakery, Urban Chestnut and 4 Hands, 36 of which are available on tap. Indulgent fried appetizers, sandwiches and a handful of salads are also available at the pizza-and-beer themed restaurant.

The Sliced Pint will open this weekend (Fri., Sept. 30 to Sun., Oct. 2) from 5 p.m. to midnight before taking on regular hours: Sunday to Wednesday from 10:30 a.m. to midnight and Thursday to Saturday from 11:30 a.m. to midnight. Here’s a sneak peek of your next slice and pint downtown:

 

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-photos by Michelle Volansky 

Sneak Peek: Narwhal’s Crafted Urban Ice in Midtown

Friday, September 9th, 2016

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Narwhal’s Crafted Urban Ice opens doors at 3906 Laclede Ave., in Midtown at 5 p.m. today, Sept. 9, to serve its cocktail slushies to the thirsty masses. As The Scoop reported in March, co-owners Brad Merten and Brandon Holzhueter are opening the 1,900-square-foot space with a rotating menu focused on upscale frozen cocktails.

Narwhal’s puts its stamp on classic cocktails by adding new flavors. Options like the Narchata, the Flying Grasshopper, a boozy Root Beer Float and a Peach Old-Fashioned take frozen form. They can be enjoyed in 12-, 16- and 24-ounce cups, as well as a flight with three 7-ounce pours or as sharable 40-ounce fishbowls.

Beer lovers don’t need to steer clear, however; the bar has six taps with a rotating selection of local beers from 4 Hands, Perennial, Schlafly and The Civil Life, and up to 40 bottled options. The space also has a full bar, so requests for a traditional cocktails can also be accommodated. Narwhal’s doesn’t serve food in the 100-seat space, but Holzhueter said customers can bring in meals or order delivery.

The bar will be open daily from 11 a.m. to 1:30 a.m. Here’s what to expect when you walk into Narwhal’s Crafted Urban Ice:

 

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Editor’s note: This post was updated at 2 p.m. Sept. 9 to correct the sizes of the drinks available. 

-photos by Michelle Volansky 

Sneak Peek: Yolklore in Crestwood

Friday, July 29th, 2016

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Don’t hit the snooze button if you live or work off Watson Road. Yolklore, the newest addition to the Crestwood food scene, hosts its grand opening this Sunday, July 31 at 8958 Watson Road. As The Scoop reported in April, co-owners Mary and John Bogacki and Billy Oziransky are dishing up slew of breakfast items, pastries, coffee and smoothies.

The Yolklore crew utilizes ingredients from local farms and vendors like Buttonwood Farms, Mushrooms Naturally and Rolling Lawn Farms for their takes on breakfast classics like biscuits and gravy, a mushroom frittata and egg sandwiches.

A seasonal cream puff (peaches and cream puff to start), gooey butter cake and chocolate cake for breakfast are among sweeter options. Drawing on Mary’s Bogacki’s skills as a pastry chef, whole cakes – gooey butter, cheesecake, blueberry coffee cake and chocolate chunk cookie cake – are available to order as are special occasion sweets.

Yolklore’s coffee comes from Dubuque Coffee Co. in Brentwood. In keeping with the owners’ focus on sustainability, Yolklore offers a $5 monthly coffee club where members receive a designated coffee cup that receives unlimited refills for $1 per visit.

Yolklore is open Monday through Friday from 6 a.m. to 2 p.m. and Saturday and Sunday from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. Those rushing to work can swing through the drive-thru, which is open during business hours and offers the same menu as the dining room. Here’s a sneak peek inside:

 

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-photos by Michelle Volansky

Sneak Peek: Mayana Mexican Kitchen in Clayton

Friday, July 1st, 2016

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Fans of Hacienda Mexican Restaurant in Rock Hill can get a quick bite when its sister restaurant opens Mayana Mexican Kitchen at 7810 Forsyth Blvd., in Clayton on Friday, July 8. As The Scoop reported in January, Hacienda co-owners Alex Rodriguez de Torres and John Rodriguez announced the build-your-own concept (then called Wet Burrito) as a way to accommodate the busy Clayton lunch rush.

Racks of tortilla dough waiting to be pressed greet guests upon entering the bright 1,500-square-foot casual eatery. Flour tortillas are made to order and serve as the base for customizable burritos, tacos or quesadillas. Other base options include tortilla-free burrito bowls, salads or a flaky piece of fry bread. Each dish can be customized with meats like citrus-marinated chicken, fajita steak and carnitas, as well as rice, beans, cheese, sauces and salsas.

Managing partner Brian Michaels said he expects the Clayton location to be the first of many Mayana Mexican Kitchens, and plans to open additional locations across the country. “We’re ready,” said Michaels. “(Hacienda has) already restructured to go national.”

Mayana Mexican Kitchen will be open Monday to Saturday from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Here’s a sneak peek of what to expect when you step inside:

 

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-photos by Michelle Volansky 

Sneak Peek: Kounter Kulture in Lindenwood Park

Thursday, June 30th, 2016

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Pop-up eatery Kitchen Kulture has put down roots under the name Kounter Kulture. As The Scoop reported in March, co-owners Christine Meyer and chef Michael Miller are opening up shop on Tuesday, July 5 in the former Pint Size Bakery location at 3825 Watson Road. They will post up at their regular spots at the Tower Grover Farmers Market, but they’re relieved to have a permanent location. “We’ve been mobile for so long,” Meyer said. “After a certain point you just want a home.”

The petite redesigned restaurant offers a full view of the open kitchen behind the walk-up service counter. “We treated this place like a submarine,” Meyer said. “Everything had to have a place and a purpose or it didn’t make it in.” Even the counter is on wheels and can separate into mobile prep stations when the restaurant isn’t open.

While business will be primarily carryout, Kounter Kulture offers around 20 seats outside at cafe tables. The menu features  a tight, rotating roster Asian-inspired dishes like spring rolls, okonomiyaki (Japanese pancakes), steamed buns and noodle bowls like a cold ramen salad and a khao soi made with Midwest Pasta Co. noodles.

Open from 4:30 to 9:30 p.m. Monday through Friday, here’s a sneak peek of Kounter Kulture’s open kitchen.

 

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-photos by Michelle Volansky

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